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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 05/14/99
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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Internationally Known HIV Vaccine Researcher Speaks at UC

CincinnatióDonald Francis, DSc, president of VaxGen, Inc., will speak at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center about infectious disease prevention on Thursday, May 20. Sponsored by UC's Physician-Scientist Training Program (PSTP), Francis' lecture entitled "Infectious Disease Prevention: From the Bench to the Field," will begin at 4:00 p.m. in Room 7051 of the Medical Sciences Building and is open to the public.

Over the last 30 years, Francis has been at the forefront of the battle against infectious diseases. In the 1970s, he helped the World Health Organization conquer ebola in Sudan and eradicate smallpox in India, Bangladesh, and the former Yugoslavia. In the 1980s, as a physician scientist for the Centers for Disease Control, Francis' warnings to the public helped prevent further spread of the AIDS virus. His efforts were described in a book and movie titled And the Band Played On. Currently Francis' company, VaxGen, Inc., is conducting Phase III clinical trials on an AIDS vaccine in the US and Thailand.

The PSTP is a collaboration between UC's College of Medicine and Children's Hospital Medical Center and is aimed at students interested in obtaining both the MD and PhD degrees. The eight-year program is a mix of medical and basic science courses, biomedical science research, and hands-on clinical education. Upon completion, these physician-scientists conduct translational research that they can take from their labs to their patients. "Our goal is to train physicians who are both excellent scientists and compassionate physicians," says Judy Harmony, PhD, director of PSTP.

Currently the program is raising funds for its endowment. The program hopes to bring its endowment from $3 million to $10 million. The funds will help supplement students' education expenses, which are about $186,000. The support will enable students to focus on their clinical and research future.

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